Saturday, November 22, 2008

Polymer Clay Tutorial

Yes Elena here is your tutorial on polymer clay faces. Here are the supplies you'll need to do this project. (Click on the pictures to see them full size.)

1. Baby Powder (or corn starch) and small bowl
2. Large Mop Brush (to apply powder)
3. Polymer Clay in assorted colors
4. Metallic powders or paints (Pearl Ex, Primary Elements or Lumiere)
5. Pre-made silicone molds or Mold-N-Pour to make your own.
6. Polymer Clay Glaze and Brush to apply it
7. 4x4 Ceramic Tile
8. Small Toaster oven (or kitchen oven will work)
9. Eraser Tip Clay Tool (Optional)
10. Items to make your own mold from (optional)

I'm going to start this tutorial on how to make your own silicone mold using a 2 part compound. It is called Mold-N-Pour and is made by Suze Weinberg. You can find it at Michael's in the rubberstamp aisle with the melting pot supplies.

Here are a bunch of items that I have made molds from. It includes beads, pendants, buttons, doll heads, statues, tiles, toys, charms, and my own hand made clay pieces.

To get started I am going to make a metal pendant I found in the jewelry section into a mold. First thing I need to do is cut off the ring at the top.

Next I need to file the rough edge where I cut the ring off. If you leave it rough it will show when you make a mold out of it.

Open the 2 part silicone molding compound and get out equal parts of each color.

Mix them thoroughly by twisting and kneading it together. When the colors are combined evenly then you are done mixing.

Form a ball or oblong shape that mimics the object you are going to mold then push the object into the silicone and form it up around the edges.

I like to place the silicone on my table and gently push it down to create a flat area on the back. This will help keep the mold level when you are filling it. This is really important if you want to use them with liquid polymer clay or hot embossing liquid from a melting pot.

Once it has sat for about 10 or 15 minute you can unmold your piece.

Here is what the final mold looks like from the face pendant.

Here are some of my favorite molds that I have purchased. (Be sure to check out the links I have listed.)

Now on to how make polymer clay pieces from your own molds. (Or ones you have purchased.)

You will need to "squirt" some baby powder or corn starch into a small bowl. You will also need a mop brush to apply the powder to your molds.

Get a fair amount of powder on your brush and coat the inside of your mold. Blow any excess out. (If you over do it it will leaves small pock marks in the clay.)

Knead your polymer clay to get it warm and pliable. I usually sit on a small ball of it in a plastic baggie while I am preparing other things.

Pinch off a piece of clay that you think will fill the mold and roll it into a ball. (You'll get the hang of judging how much clay a mold needs after you do a few.) This is to smooth it out and make sure there are no cracks or folds in the surface of the clay.

If the mold is oblong like the one I am working with, mold the clay into a rough oval. If you are working with a face mold that has a prominent nose then roll the ball to a small point. (The point will be inserted into the nose to make sure it reaches the bottom of the mold.)

Push the clay into the mold and work it out to the edges. Don't worry if it doesn't go all the way to the sides. It's OK to do partial molds.

Gently peel back one edge of the mold and work out the clay without distorting it too much. If you are having a real problem then re-powder the mold and try again. Sometimes you can take a small ball of clay and stick to the back of the clay in the mold and pull it out.

Place the clay piece on a ceramic tile and gently push down the edges so it sticks slightly. (This will keep it from moving when you pick up the tile or powder the clay.)

Take a pot of metallic powder dip your mop brush into the powder. (A little goes a long way.)

Gently brush the powder all over the clay making sure to get into the creases and around the sides. (Once it is powdered try not to touch it.)

Add other polymer clay pieces to fill your ceramic tile. I find it helpful to use an eraser tipped clay tool to redefine any features that may have been "smooshed" or just don't come out too well. (It has a pointed tip on one end and a chisel edge on the other.) You can find these in the polymer clay aisle at Michael's for next to nothing.

Bake your clay pieces at the manufacturers reccommended temperature and time. Remove them from the oven when they are done and gently slide them off the ceramic tile to cool. (It only take about 5 minutes for them to cool.) Once they are cool you can paint them with metallic paints if you left them plain. You can also paint over the metallic powders with a dark metallic paint, a dark glaze or Rub-N-Buff and gently rub off the excess leaving the color in the creases. Once dry you will need to seal them with a polymer clay varnish. (Otherwise the metallic powders will rub off.)

Here is an assortment of faces I have done in various ways. (Click on the photo to see a good close-up.)

Here are some projects I have made using those faces and a few other things I have made from polymer clay.


Juliet A said...

These are gorgeous! Now, can you show us some projects in which you used these faces?

Linda Dunn said...

You are killin' me with this tutorial!

Mahalo for sharing.

Isabella said...

I love all of your work! Your tutorial is awesome. Thank you so much for the pointers!!

Pam Tucker (Isabella)

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

Fantastic tutorial! You have really put in a lot of effort to share it with us all! Love the faces and the art you have created with them... Lovely!

Elena said...

You were born to teach girlfriend! My love and hugs to you for your friendship and to you and your family on this Thanksgiving day.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I have to try this! Thanks for sharing the how-to, Valerie.